Gay Merced Pageant this weekend

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comApril 12, 2013 

The second annual Mr. Miss and Ms. Gay Merced Pageant is coming to town, and organizers say, it will be an unforgettable evening for all.

Rick Regur, Mr. Gay Merced 2012 and 2013, helped organize this year's event, which has a theme of "A Night at the Moulin Rouge," complete with costumes, dance numbers and musical entertainment.

"We have about 25 female impersonator illusionist performers this year," Regur said. "It's one of the biggest ones we've had."

The contestants will be judged on casual day wear, evening formal wear, and a talent competition. Contestants also must submit their written thoughts about how to educate people about the gay community, and answer a random question by a judge.

Regur said the contestants also will raise money for a local charity by participating in the pageant. Each contestant is given a tin can to gather donations before and during the pageant.

Last year, Regur said he raised $400 for the Last Hope Cat Kingdom in Atwater.

A portion of ticket sale proceeds also will be donated to the contestants' charities.

Five people have submitted applications to compete in this year's pageant, Regur said, but they're looking for more contestants. People can submit applications up until the evening of the event, he added. There is a $20 entry fee.

Regur said Mercedians have become more supportive of the event this year.

"We have had phone calls of nothing but positivity," he said. "When people came to the show last year, they had such an amazing night -- they didn't want the night to end."

First-time attendees will be in for a treat, Regur added. "People will be shocked and surprised, and go away leaving the best concert ever."

The Mr. Miss and Ms. Gay Merced Pageant will open its doors at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Merced Women's Club House, 707 W. 22nd St. in Merced. Tickets, which include dinner, are $15 at the door. There's a $5 discount for military members and students.

Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

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